The Challenge Ahead
It's not pretty is it? The board have told me they want us to finish in mid-table, but that they are also taking into account we start with -11 points and realise it will be hard to achieve.
Looking through the squad, there is a bit of quality here so it's not all doom and gloom. I won't go into detail just yet as far as players are concerned and will prefer to do it over time. I had set us the marker of getting rid of the eleven point deficit after six games. Eleven points from eighteen seemed like a realistic target for a team of our stature. Once we got to that point, I would re-evaluate.
The Six-Game Mark
Our task was made harder than initially expected by the news that our opening two fixtures would be against Lecce (a) and Foggia (h). On that point, there are some famous names in this league. The two just mentioned, plus Messina and Benevento, and ourselves, of course. Anyway, I digress...
We drew 1-1 with Lecce and then beat Foggia 1-0. It wasn't pretty, and you could argue that we didn't really deserve anything from either game, but it's not our fault they didn't take their chances.
Monopoli (1-0) were seen off in a much better performance before back-to-back 3-0 wins over Lupa Castelli Romani (h) and Matera (a) showed that we can score more than a goal a game. The six-game period ended with a 2-1 win over Ischia at home - a game where we could have had a hatful.
Finishing that period, not only cancelling out the eleven point deduction, but also adding five extra points, can be seen as nothing but a huge success.
At this point, a playoff spot would be lovely, but the games start to come thick and fast now and there isn't a huge amount of depth to the squad. Still, plenty to build upon...
At this point it would be fitting to talk a little bit about the formation I am currently using.
It's about as simple as they come lads. You can see the individual player roles for yourselves and there are no personal instructions at this time. Team instructions are equally as plain. 'Direct passing' which seems to compliment our 'control' mentality and 'flexible' shape.
The central defender steps into the gap between the lines and cuts out the first ball and the two wing-backs provide the width. Up top, the DLF and the AP link well and the two central midfielders need to be able to get up and down the pitch consistently.